(Thomas Jones’s mate before he married was Jim Welfair. This trip to London described below didn’t go as planned)
When a young man his boon companion was Jim Welfare from Horsted Keynes, a fine man a jocular companion and keen politician with a leaning to the chartists. My father had his first holiday as a young man with Welfair and they went to London by coach. I have a silhouette of Tom Jones as he then appeared and he certainly was a fine young buck.
In London my father seems to have carried the money and his pocket was picked! There jaunt to town unluckily terminated and they turned back to Sussex, coming home over the downs through Ditchling they arrived at park corner at noon their pride compelled them to remain concealed till night, when they slunk into their lodgings, and never wished to hear about the metroplolis again.
Welfare’s propensity for a joke sometimes got them into trouble. The carpenters assisted the keepers in the park in looking for poachers. One night before starting diggers the head keeper instructed them in for supper. Pigs fry was on the table. Welfare foolishly and rudely suggested they should not keep the dogs out of their supper. The keeper a giant and homely man, immediately cleared them out of the house and crestfallen they had to go into the woods supperless. Jack Welfare another clever carpenter, after marrying a maid went to Laughton and worked on the estate for many years. He like Old Fred Woldridge one of Hamptons bricklayers was to fond of a drink, a bad habit left over from their smuggling days.